I come from a big family. I have 3 sisters and 6 brothers. I am the 9th in our family of 10 siblings.
From one mom and dad
My mom died when I was only 7 years old. My dad died a month after I gave birth to my 3rd child. I was already 27 then.
After my mom died my dad remarried. I got to stay with my 3 sisters who already had their own families at the time I stayed with each of them. I was lucky to be among the youngest as I had lots of older siblings to take care of me.
Even if we come from the same parents we still have different attitudes toward life. Our behavior is diverse since we grew up in different stages in our family life.
Growing Up in Different Stages
The eldest batch experienced the life of luxury. My dad was the son of a Governor at that time.
The middle batch experienced so much bonding with our other relatives. They almost lived with our cousins when they were growing up.
The youngest batch, that would be me and my youngest brother, barely had spent time with our mom. I was 7 and he was 5 when our mom passed away due to cardiac arrest.
My siblings lived in different provinces because some have their own families, some were studying and some were working.
Lucky to have them
I am thankful to my parents for bearing lots of kids. Maybe I can say that because I am among the youngest. I had older siblings to take care of me even when they weren’t around.
My eldest sister and I have a 20 year gap. She was already married and had 2 kids when our mom passed away. She showed strength to guide us all during this hard time.
Learning from what they said or what they did
I’d like to share the things I’ve learned from my siblings. Some things they said to me and some things they showed me. Either way, learning from them is something I’m thankful now that I’m a wife and mom myself.
I saw the positive and negative side of their situations. I got what was good and changed what I thought was bad. This became my formula in my own marriage and in bringing up my kids.
1. My eldest sister was a career woman. She retired from work in 2002. She rose up the ranks in the corporate world from being a marketing assistant to executive secretary to the vice-president of a big corporation and eventually promoted as personnel manager.
I learned to value my work. Our profession was similar since I was always the executive assistant to the president of the different companies that I worked with. Our only difference is that she had luck finding a company that gave great benefits to its employees and was in the top 500 corporations in the Philippines while I transferred from one company to another (though easily).
2. My 2nd sister was clearly a stay at home wife and mom. Her husband was a high-ranking local government employee. She had the money to spend whenever she wants to. She had houses and cars, always ate in restaurants and bought whatever she liked.
I learned to be ambitious. I wanted to have the things that she had and thought that one day I’ll have those too.
3. My eldest brother is the most intelligent in our family. Hands down to that! He is still a bachelor and does not have any plans to marry anymore. He is an official in a government office.
I learned to study harder. I wanted to be like him in school, always with honors. And I have been an honor student ever since I started schooling. He was my inspiration.
4. My 3rd sister (I have 3 sisters) is also a stay at home mom. She is a simple woman who just wants to take care of her family all the time. She is courageous to go into small home business like (sari-sari) stores and (carinderia) canteen.
I learned to be responsible in taking care of my kids even when I had my eldest daughter when I was only 17. I want my kids to love me the way her kids love her.
5. My 2nd brother is simple and a hands-on dad. He takes care of his kids very well.
I learned that even if my husband was working too he can still be a hands-on dad to our kids. We share chores at home.
6. My 3rd brother is serious with his work. He puts so much time and effort to his profession.
I learned to be serious with my work but also to balance work and family time.
7. My 4th brother has the ability to turn things around. He has the capability to manage work and life even in crisis.
I learned to understand that our life is not perfect. We could sometimes be up there and sometimes down there. But whatever life brings us we should know how to stand up again.
8. My 5th brother was also into his career. He worked so hard to be able to give to his family their needs.
Again I learned to work harder for my family. But this time I know how to balance time between work and family. Family should not be sacrificed a lot. I am working for my family so I should be able to keep them happy too.
9. My youngest brother (I have 6 brothers) has gone through the ups and downs of life.
I learned to appreciate everything that has happened to me, the good and the bad.
What makes me different from them?
I’ve stayed with all my 3 sisters and I’ve seen my brothers with their families. I see the things that I like in what they do and I pick it up and apply it to my own family.
Of course, nobody’s perfect. I see the things that I don’t like in what they do and I pick it up and throw it away.
I like to psychologize people, what they do and what they might be thinking why they did that. I like to analyze things.
I have siblings who are so much into their careers that their family has been sacrificed in one way or another. They have less time at home. They can give their kids their needs except proper attention. They are surprised how fast their kids have grown and probably have asked “where were they?”
Some of my siblings have broken families. I do not judge them but I know they also have faults. I believe it takes 2 to tango. I love my in-laws (my siblings’ spouses) and they’ve been good to me.
I analyze what may have happened to their families that it resulted to being broken. I just know that time is important when you have a family.
While time is also important when you are working, then all you have to do is make time for other things as well. Learn to balance what you’re doing.
Make priorities. You’re out of the house from 6am (you need to spare a lot of time for commuting here in the Phils.) and come home by 8pm. You do not need to spend night outs with your co-workers almost every day of the week. When you come home by 8pm your kids might be preparing for sleep already. If you need to have a night out with co-workers at least do it just occasionally. It could be the exception and not the norm.
My husband and I make sure that we spend time with our kids on weekends. We could just stay at home and have movie marathon or general cleaning of the house or indulge in any family activity inside the house. Or we could go out to the malls or visit relatives or go out of town.
Because of this analysis I often resigned from work when I felt that my kids needed me during a particular time. The kids have different stages too.
When my youngest was starting to walk and my 2nd child was already running and he was starting to be naughty I knew I had to resign from work so I can pay more attention to their behavior. This is what a nanny cannot do the way a mom can.
When we were all adjusted I got back to work. Then I had a problem with one of my kids when he was in mid-elementary so I resigned again. I had to focus on his study habits and school activities.
I do not regret not having a big time career right now. I’m happy the way my kids have grown up. I’m proud of them. And I hope they’re proud of me too 🙂
We all have learned a lesson or two from our families. Care to share them on the comments below? I’d love to hear from you too.